WASHINGTON - In just a few days, we will mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first U.S. concert. The Fab Four played right here in D.C. at the Washington Coliseum. Tommy Roe was as close to the action as anyone. He shared the stage with the legendary group that night as the opening act.
It was 1964. The Beatles -- sensations in England – were making their mark in America. After the band played "The Ed Sullivan Show," Beatlemania tightened its grip on U.S. fans. The band was set to play their first U.S. concert, and it was happening in the nation's capital inside the Washington Coliseum. “It was called the Washington Sports Arena, so it really wasn't set up for a concert series,” said Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of the DC Preservation League. They were playing a concert at a venue that wasn't really a concert venue at all. There wasn't even a stage. “It was actually a boxing mat, and so they just took down the ropes and that's where The Beatles played,” said Miller. “They came out and played in the round. Ringo actually had to turn his drum set around.” 8,000 fans packed the coliseum that night. It was the biggest crowd The Beatles had played to yet. But the musician opening for The Beatles, Tommy Roe, said fans weren't just there for the fab four.